When Kelsey Maser’s son, Lucas, stopped gaining weight at 10 months old, their daily routine quickly changed. Lucas was diagnosed with Failure to Thrive, a condition in which a child doesn’t retain the calories necessary to grow as expected.
Kelsey and Lucas had to seek guidance. They joined an eight-week Intensive Feeding Program (IFP), designed to help infants and toddlers learn to eat and drink in productive ways. There are only a handful of these programs across the country, and one is in West Michigan—more than two hours away from Kelsey and Lucas’ home in Linden, MI.
“Driving back and forth every day for several weeks was not an option,” said Kelsey. “And frankly, our budget wouldn’t allow for us to stay at a hotel for that length of time.”
Kelsey’s husband stayed back with their oldest son who was finishing kindergarten while she and Lucas headed to Grand Rapids. The Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan gave them a place to feel at home.
“Staying at the House was very comforting,” Kelsey said. “It was so nice to have an actual home to come back to after spending so much time in a waiting room every day.”
As eating is the focus of the IFP, having access to a full kitchen was critical for Kelsey. She was able to fix meals for herself and Lucas, have access to quiet rooms to record feeding sessions, and enjoy the company of volunteers and other House guests.
“The nights when a local group made dinner for us were the best,” Kelsey said. “Not having to cook an extra meal for myself was much appreciated. The Ronald McDonald House is really the closest thing to home that you will find.”